The Howard Goodman Bursary Update July 2005

Howard Goodman Fellowship: Innovation and Adaptability in Healthcare Facilities

Increasing demand for healthcare and changing trends in healthcare delivery pose challenges for healthcare infrastructure. Shorter technology lifecycles and evolving service models stand in sharp contrast to the long lifetime of physical building structures. These trends are creating new and increasing pressures on the requirements for future healthcare facilities.

This relationship between innovation and rapid change in clinical operations within the hospital and the supporting built infrastructure is of particular interest. The problems of meeting the resulting requirement for flexibility – defined in its broadest sense as the ‘ability to accommodate future changing healthcare needs’ – are amplified through the use of PFI because of the contractual obligations to use, or at least pay for, facilities over the long period of the contract. Change during this time is certain but unpredictable.

The aim of the research project is to develop an understanding of the impact of the delivery mechanism for healthcare infrastructure on the flexibility of healthcare facilities. In short, what approaches to the delivery of healthcare facilities are best able to accommodate continuous innovation in the healthcare sector?

Besides generating insights into the delivery of ‘flexible’ hospital facilities, the project will produce practical recommendations for policy makers and the healthcare sector generally.

The project is still evolving, drawing on input and feedback from expert discussions, and its objective and direction is subject to further definition. Over the summer exploratory interviews are planned in order to refine the project focus and to establish a comprehensive approach for the subsequent data collection process.

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